Corruption in the Teamsters Union
In 1902 a group of horse and buggy drivers created the Teamsters Union, in that the Teamsters were employed to transport goods. This occupation has played an important part in the economic development of the United States. Although they worked under difficult circumstances at the turn of the twentieth century they began to unionize on an extensive scale. There was no established national organization until 1912 that the teamsters were secure. Back in those days certain crafts and professions were considered as public-interest endeavors, which were licensed and regulated by the town authorities.
Included in the teamsters which started with cart-men were; doorkeepers, butchers, and bakers. With the public being so reliant on these crafts they showed a monopoly and the members would join in strikes, to change supply and demand so they could increase prices for their products. In addition, the strikes served the purpose in securing higher wages and fees for services, and to keep outsiders from operating in the same craft. The strikes came about as early as the seventeenth century, although there weren’t any conflicts between labor and management.
Instead, the strikes represented demonstrations against local laws and directives and were aimed in influencing the actions of town councils. There were numerous grievances due to the charges and rates established by localities for teamsters and in the seventeenth century cart-men did not work for earnings but owned the horses and wagons. Back in 1677 New York held the first tribunal for a strike in which, “Twelve truckmen were dismissed by the common council for not carrying out the duties prescribed for them by the city.
The prosecution charged that the men were in contempt; it did not base its case upon conspiracy. Conditions prevailing in New York City were typical of those under which cart-men labored prior to 1850. ” (Witwer) The New York teamsters were categorized as an individual labor group and each of them had to be licensed by the mayor. This allowed the city to have control over the cost of transporting or delivering goods through its streets and as business endeavors in the metropolitan area increased, a variety of regulations were passed.
This included specifications on cart sizes, speed zones, and preventive measures to deter noise and accidents. After the Revolutionary War, the New York City council maintained stringent control over the work of cart-men doorkeepers, butchers, and bakers. During this time cart-men made request to the council that would limit who could enter into their craft in 1785, which kept transient residents in the city during the summer out of their businesses. It wasn’t until 1790, which licenses as teamsters were sought after by the old, frail, and unskilled workers.
According to Brill, “In 1792, the Cart-men’s Society was founded for the relief of distressed members. In 1797, as a result of flagrant abuses by teamsters in New York City operating without a license and charging extortionate fees–all licenses were revoked. The cart-men were reorganized in groups of forty-nine, each headed by a foreman. In 1800, there were twenty such companies. Stiff penalties were imposed for violations of ordinances. ” The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) labor union has been more embroiled in jurisdictional cases and doppelganger unionism.
When it was initially established, this union has been engaged in incessant critical disputes over jurisdiction. These disputes often affect many international unions, some associated either with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) or the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and those with no affiliation to either federation. The struggle of major concern was the inquiry of the proper union for a particular group of men, yet it entailed power over a precise job region.
Many occurrences were an actual contest for power over a specific region and the complexity concerning jurisdiction that the teamsters have come upon has occurred due to the union making steady attempt s to expand. The incentives for such exploits were very diverse to include workers with functions closely related to others already performed by members of the union. In addition, the collaboration is essential for the triumphant exertion of economic strong hold among employers.
Workers have also been organized to prevent their assimilation by a rival unions, with regions being expanded locally, helps to boost the power of local leaders and nationally expand Commercial and industrial enterprises. Daniel J. Tobin was the president of the Teamsters Union from 1907 TO 1952, which he grew and was not in control of the fiscal policies pursued by locals in the union. Tobin exerted a forceful authority over decisions which affected the relationship of the IBT with the other associations of the labor movement and he served as representative for a significant sector of the labor force.
The power of Tobin was not challenged until 1930 when Dave Beck become known, with this Tobin’s rise to power was plodding. Tobin was born in Ireland in 1875 and in 1889 he journeyed alone to the United States. Tobin eventually became a driver-salesman, which lead him into the joining the local Team Drivers International (TDL) Union in Boston, Massachusetts. From there he became a member of Boston Local 25 and was chosen a representative to the Niagara Falls convention of 1903; it was at that convention that IBT was organized.
According to Witwer, Tobin said: “When I returned I was discharged for being an agitator and found it difficult to find employment. I did find employment at $12 a week, working 12 hours a day. ” Tobin ran for business representative for his local union in 1903 and after suffering from defeat (his only defeat while as a candidate for office within the labor movement). He proceeded to hold various offices within the Boston chapter when in August 1907, Daniel J. Tobin, became president of the Teamsters and Chauffeurs District Joint Council 10 of Boston.
Serving as his campaign manage and a business agent in Local 25 John M. Gillespie, nominated Tobin for presidency of IBT, where as upon winning Tobin appointed Gillespie as the International Organizer for the New England division. This lifetime friendship led Gillespie to Indianapolis by Tobin in 1925 to take on the duties of assistant to the president. Subsequently, when Thomas L. Hughes died in 1941, Gillespie was appointed secretary-treasurer of the IBT and he was considered Tobin’s most trusted associate in the union until his death in 1946.
As has been indicated, upon obtaining the presidency, Tobin faced numerous serious problems and disparities. His own executive board created more problems by the division amongst the members. Four vice presidents joined into a rival force and voted together on most issues, which the other three vice presidents and secretary of treasurer were unable to match or break. Tobin had to break the four to four tie in many cases by casting the decisive ballot. The Teamsters Union in New York brought Tobin up on charges in 1908, claiming that he had been elected illegally in that years convention.
The joint council contended that Local 25 was not in good standing with the IBT so, Tobin was ineligible for office. With such unruly and undermining schemes including acts of cultivating and persuading withdrawal from Local 25 by Tobin’s opposition on the board with some of the members while serving as officers of the IBT at the same time organizing independent teamster unions. At the 1910 convention, Tobin accomplished extricating the remainder of opposition and for the next thirty years he was tterly unobstructed and uncontested in managing the affairs of the International Office. The union in the first ten years had its highest level of conflict within the organization, while in quite a few cases; officers of the IBT had acquired court sanctions restraining barred and obstinate locals with numerous techniques. Tobin’s triumph with assembling the union was based upon his firm observance of avoidance (empathy action for other unions in trouble) and vigilant cost-conscious spending of union resources.
With Tobin being in charge of a small yet powerful union, he anticipated the threat of repeating previous deeds which had made it susceptible in the past. With this in mind during 10907 and the early 1930’s the IBT avoided strikes, boycotts, and financial struggles assumed by other trade unions. Whereas, Tobin was extraordinary zealous guarding the treasury part of the union and the circumstances concerning strikes and lockouts were meticulously scrutinized before any benefits were paid out by the IBT to the local unions.
With numerous rules and constitutional requirements being required before strike approval was approved by the IBT executive board. Tobin also sought to boost the finances; during his tenure of office as president; he fought for higher per capita taxes from the local teamster unions. Tobin would continuously boost with pride that being one of the larger labor organizations the Teamsters Union was insulated against economic loss due to a depression or bank failure.
The biggest troubling factors in the first decade of Tobin’s administration was the dissension within the union, the behavior the members in the local teamster unions, the secession interchanges conducted by different groups, and the existence of adversary and contending unions, in various parts of the nation. Chicago and New York were the hubs for the difficulties experienced under this regime, as a whole the teamsters were considered rather obstinate workers that exhibited a rough and idiosyncratic attitude.
In 1906 there was more dissention at the convention which led to the creation of the United Teamsters of America (UTA). Chicago, New York City, and St. Louis, IBT lost it drew about 10,000 men to the UTA, which weakened the IBT, furthermore increased the membership of locals which had been independent in the past. Tobin worked hard to bring the men back into the IBT and was triumphant in implementing an arrangement in 1908 where the majority of the locals that had departed choose to return. Chicago continued with immense dissention where a significant number of unions continued to be separate.
By bringing back the locals from New York (formerly UTA) and the designation of one of their leaders as a vice president of the IBT led to the withdrawal of a second group of locals. Many of the second group that had left the IBT had essentially returned in 1911, yet before this while trying to work out an agreement in 1909 Tobin was brutal beaten in New York City. In the attack, Tobin’s glasses were shattered, his ribs broken, and a complex fracture of his nose, but the worst was yet to come while he was hospitalized he ended up with blood poisoning and he lingered on the threshold of death.
The separate unions in Chicago continued to prosper and ultimately an impasse was accomplished, drivers working in general trucking functions had an inferred status quo contract without going beyond the jurisdictional claims of the associated and separate locals. This realistic arrangement stayed unchanged until the early 1930’s when some public officials applied force on the autonomous locals to join the IBT. These legislative officers were distressed by the magnitude of racketeering and mobster control in the teamsters unions in Chicago and believed unification would establish checks and balances on the powers of the local leaders.
In Chicago the state of affairs progressively worsened, between 1928 and 1935, thugs from the Capone crew were in command of numerous locals of drivers. Some of the locals so dominated were affiliated with the IBT and others were independent and with these circumstances, violence was not uncommon. In 1932 Patrick Burrell of Chicago the vice president of the local union was shot to death in a struggle between organized labor and mobsters in a hail of bullets. The subsequent year Henry Burger, an international organizer operating in Chicago, was shot and seriously wounded, therein came the appointment of Daniel A.
Gilbert as the chief investigator for the state’s attorney’s office in Cook County, Illinois, that law and order once again became the basis under which the locals operated. “Gilbert had strong support and encouragement from Thomas J. Courtney, the state’s attorney, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago, with pressure from the businesses and the public had become somnolent from the immoderation of unionism about teamster unity and end labor discord and racketeering. ” (Zeller) By 1934, many of the independent locals had joined the IBT while Courtney continued to aid the teamsters in their governmental efforts.
There were other aggressive outbreaks in Chicago where labor was involved and in 1951, IBT officials in Chicago were anxious that the Capone crew would return with warfare breaking out all over the city. There was a public appeal for police protection against coercion by mobsters to the mayor by the vice president of the IBT William A. Lee. There were two murders, three brutal assaults, and four bombings between 1950 and 1951 of teamster officials in Chicago; with this the IBT did not ever have full power over workers working as drivers.
The National War Labor Board (NWLB) acknowledged that the CIO controlled and represented trucking firms in other cities such as New Orleans and Detroit. Currently, the IBT is confronted with several of pockets of separatism throughout the nation. Tobin was able to combine and construct his power as president of the teamsters and become firmly embedded in office after 1910 due to no other member in the union gained national standing until the rise of Dave Beck. Tobin diligently avoided infuriating local leaders and except when circumstances were extraordinary or pressures were strong he refrained from intervening in local matters.
With the power to appoint trustees in the local unions and joint councils where he felt officials were corrupt; Tobin to exerted substantial influence in dealing with locals. Very few complaints were made about Tobin’s abuse of power when appointing trustees; he progressively proceeded to expand the presidential term in office by increasing the time period between conventions. The time between conventions went from two years in 1908 to three years in 1912, and ultimately to five years in 1915 which helped in reducing the spending of the international union.
Tobin argued that frequent conventions were unnecessary, while pointing out that the stoneworkers union was a fine organization even though it had held only one convention in twenty-eight years. Tobin broadened his labor connections, with the affiliation of the Canadian Trades and Labor Congress in 1920; then in 1928 affiliation with the building trades department of the AFL; and in 1948 with the International Transport Workers Federation. Tobin was reelected unanimously each time he ran for the office of general president, yet without ever having complete control of the convention.
When Tobin made requests and recommendations concerning monetary matters he was unequivocally turned down time and time again. It took until 1920 for the monthly per capita to be increased from 15 cents to 30 cents; then it was increased again in 1952 to 40 cents. Tobin’s main scheme, was to set up an international death benefit program under which the estate of each deceased member in good standing would receive a specified sum; this plan would increased the power of the IBT over the locals unions by giving the IBT control of a fund in which the individual members had an equity.
In January 1929 a request made by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) for financial assistance, due to the garment workers being confronted by some serious organizational struggles. The IBT grudgingly wrote the ILGWU that the board did not have the power to grant loans of any kind for any purpose, not even to one of its own locals. As the Teamsters Union strengthened, Tobin’s reputation increased, he began to implement his authority as the representative of the AFL at the British Trades Union Congress, and as a delegate to the International Federation of Trade Unions in Amsterdam, Holland.
Samuel Gompers gave great opposition to Tobin being elected treasurer of the AFL in 1917; he supported John B. Lennon, who had been the treasurer for the previous twenty-eight years. As a member of the executive council of the AFL, Tobin became one of its most imperative and vocal constituents while when John L. Lewis ran for AFL president, Tobin served as Gompers’ campaign manager. With numerous differences over the issues of policy within the executive council Tobin threatened to resign several times, yet he was convinced not to on every occasion.
Although in 1928 with another dispute with the executive council concerning the endorsement of Alfred E. Smith as a candidate as the President of the United States, Tobin resigned as treasurer. Tobin recommended that the offices of secretary and of treasurer of the AFL be consolidated when he left his post, this was enacted in 1935, under Tobin’s leadership in becoming the ninth AFL president in 1934. The Federation increased the number of men in this office from eight to fifteen, while Tobin became a vice president of the building trades department of the AFL.
Tobin progressed in the chain of command of the labor movement; his union was concurrently gaining power and size. The AFL was revived in 1933 due to the decision of the Teamsters Union to organize everything on wheels; this is when the IBT became the most powerful union in the country. Threats to stop deliveries to and from companies who refused accept terms of the teamsters allowed them to gain contracts in trucking and related industries. The IBT gave support to other unions engaged in picketing or bargaining negotiations which strengthened the position of these unions and fortified their objectives.
Unions organizing workers who were working in small numbers in regular establishments, were they became dependent on the teamsters for assistance, with the division in the AFL in 1935, Tobin continued his opposition to the growth of industrial unions. He asserted that it was not possible to organize the steelworkers; Tobin was fighting for the separation of teamsters from other workers. Tobin became the dominant core of labor leaders which favored craft unionism and he unequivocally maintained that industrial unionism would cause more hardship to the teamsters than to any other trade union.
With the split between the AFL and CIO being complete, Tobin was one of the first labor leaders who strongly advocated reunification; he vigorously championed a plea by President Roosevelt for unity in the labor movement despite the rather cool reception which the message received from the other union heads present. Tobin was among the opposition to amending the Wagner Act, to make its stipulations more acceptable to the AFL. Supporters of the AFL contended that a majority of the members of the NLRB were prejudiced in favor of the CIO; it was believed that changes in laws would be more favorable to employers.
Tobin aggressively opposed the communists and had them outlawed from the IBT, with his serious dislike of Harry Bridges of the longshoremen’s union and his displeasure with John L. Lewis of the mine workers. The consequences with the fight for power within the Teamsters Union under the administration of Beck became apparent with the expulsion of the International Longshoremen’s Association from the AFL. At the beginning of 1956, the election race for the presidency of the teamster’s joint council in New York City took place; the national leaders of the union had to make their positions known.
With internal dissension at an all time high the impression of complete harmony on the general executive board came under public scrutiny, disclosure of the level of bitterness and conflict within the union indicate that it is one of the most important of the past fifty years. While Tobin held the top post in the union most members were afraid to challenge his control, due to his effective leadership; and the decentralization of the local leaders, caused sovereignty within their own unions.
The local unions did not particularly aspire to expand their authority, with the arrival of Beck and the conference technique of organization, the progression of centralization began. Tobin fought hard and unsuccessfully to prevent the progression of centralization, eventually Beck had his way and gained much power even before he took over the leadership. At the beginning of his administration as general president, Dave Beck foresaw a strong centralized union with power vested in his hands looking toward the elimination of racketeering and corruption.
To this end, Beck intensified his endeavors to complete the creation of conferences, with the size of the union and the colossal burden which his office entailed, Beck attempted to stay clear of direct contact with organizational and bargaining work with regards to issues in policy formation and jurisdictional problems. It was under these conditions that Jimmy Hoffa, was able to emerge as a rival to Beck who did not see his rapid rise and independence as a threat.
By the time Beck recognized the problems Hoffa brought to the organization it was too late for Beck to extricate him without shaking the foundation of the union and risking defeat in his own objectives. Over the years Beck and Hoffa have tangled on many concerns yet formed alliances in other instances, both men recognized and appreciated the strength of the other. Given Beck’s rise to the presidency, the struggle between them has solidified even further, Hoffa has said, “Although he takes orders from Beck, Beck does not raise questions as to how they are carried out. (Friedman and Schwarz) The modern record of the Teamsters Union may be implicit in the terms of the activities and goals of Beck and Hoffa, during the severe depression of the 1930’s; union activity was a perilous endeavor for those who had jobs. Hoffa, along with four other men who are currently still trusted affiliates of his staff, commenced to systematize the 175 workers in the warehouse as an independent union, that went on strike just as a highly perishable load of strawberries arrived to be unloaded.
In needing the workers to work, management had to realize the seriousness of the strike which led to some concession to pacify the workers. Within months a charter from the AFL was received making the independent Kroger group a federal labor union, Detroit was not a strong union center in 1932. There were few IBT locals in Detroit with roughly 500 members, Hoffa sought affiliation with the Teamsters Union and was given the charter of Local 674.
Hoffa then proceeded to create an alliance with Local 299, which was then under trusteeship of the IBT, in debt, and without contracts this allowed his expansion program to begin. One of Hoffa’s first and most ambitious ventures as a delegate of the teamsters were to organize the truckers, drivers, and car hauler workers, commencing between 1933 and 1935 was met the vicious conflicts of the automobile manufacturers. The automobile manufactures established a division within the IBT and Hoffa became the negotiating chairman which contributed to his rise through the ranks.
Hoffa was elected president of Local 299 which has 16,000 members and 800 contracts with employers, within three years Hoffa became chairman of the central states drivers’ council. When the Michigan Conference of Teamsters was organized Hoffa was elected president, which led to him being appointed by Tobin to fill a vacancy in the office of international trustee. Hoffa’s rise through the ranks continued when he was elected president of Joint Council 43 of Detroit, like Beck, Hoffa is unrelenting and avoided liquor and tobacco, yet, he used foul language when speaking.
In his extensive traveling on union business Hoffa was not concerned with political ideas or labor idealism, he attempted to bring about instantaneous improvements in the wages, hours, and working conditions of the teamsters. Hoffa has a vast and accurate knowledge of trucking operations; he was very familiar with the economics and he drove a hard bargain while adhering strictly to the contract provisions he negotiates. Hoffa brought stability in working conditions to trucking with questionable associates and shady business activities and connections.
Hoffa’s emergence from violent and ambiguous surroundings occurred with the development of maturity and the passage of time, this transformation reminds one of the evolutionary growths of other high leaders in the Teamsters Union. The vice president of the San Francisco IBT Michael “Bloody Mike” Casey, helped set up the general trucker’s local and earned his nickname in a violent and prolonged strike the in 1901. The nickname Casey had gotten became a term of affection, and when he died in 1937 he was a solid and respected citizen among leaders of the civic and industrial life of San Francisco.
When Hoffa was elected to vice president of the IBT in 1952, Tobin said to the convention, “He is the biggest small man in Detroit. When you go to Detroit today you hear about Hoffa, but you do not hear a word about Henry Ford. As I said, he is a very big small man and he is one man we developed in our time. He is pretty nearly civilized now, but I knew him when he wasn’t. ” (Dobbs) The newly organized IBL was unable to defeat the barred organization in two NLRB representation elections at the port of New York, despite the strong support of the AFL.
Resulting in employers on the water front being forced to come to terms with the independent ILA, this meant that teamsters continued their close contact with members of the ILA while performing the work of moving waterfront freight. Moreover, some ILA leaders had friends among teamster officials both Hoffa and John J. O’Rourke (president of Local 282) had close ties with the ILA. Hoffa’s main objective was to develop the influence and membership of the teamsters by undertaking bold organizing activities in the southern states for this purpose and felt that the assistance of the ILA was both necessary and valuable in his project.
Realistic considerations swayed Beck and slowly weakened his original resolution and adamancies with feelings of antipathy and distrust between Meany and Beck influencing the situation. Evidence of the discord between the two men came to the surface when Meany resisted Beck’s election to the executive council of the AFL, when he fought hard to frustrate the teamster machinations to absorb the expelled ILA, when he successfully maneuvered to overcome teamster resistance to merger of the AFL and CIO, and when he forced the IBT to accept limited representation in the industrial union department.
At one point, Beck publicly announced that he would never be a candidate for the presidency of the AFL and on other occasions he stated that he stanchly supported Meany for the office. Ensuing to the rejection by the AFL of efforts by the IBT to absorb the ILA, Hoffa undertook to negotiate an agreement to put the ILA under the domination of the teamsters; he envisioned a possible merger of the two unions. Aside from the fact that the longshoremen’s union had 60,000 members who might be absorbed, there were mutual benefits to be derived from an agreement, teamsters and longshoremen work closely in port areas.
With cargo freight being loaded and unloaded by longshoremen in trucks manned by teamsters, the IBT was strong in the Great Lakes ports, where the ILA is weak, while the ILA is in a position to help the IBT organize the South. With several preliminary discussions in 1955 the delegates to the ILA convention approved a working alliance with the teamsters, the last draft of the pact was left to a special subcommittee with the evident that upon its conclusion it would be subject to a membership referendum.
As negotiations continued there seemed to be some loss of interest in the project on the part of longshoremen, the mutual assistance pact was between the independent longshoremen’s union and three conferences of the IBT (central states, eastern, and southern). This gave a joint organization of work by the two unions, the cost to be apportioned by agreement; uniform labor contract expiration dates; and continued independent status of the ILA, except if both unions mutually agreed to a change. In the beginning the president of the ILA William V.
Bradley, expected Beck to give his approval to the alliance and that members of both unions would be asked to ratify it. However Beck kept his distance from that debate, he stated that the document did not need his endorsement since it involved the regional conferences and did not conflict with the international constitution. With the new pact being placed in effect and the subdivisions of the international union were free to make loans to the ILA. With the expansion of the industry the IBT has grown, with that the union does not ordinarily invade jurisdictions of other trade unions.
They have gained membership from employees of warehouses, canneries, and food processing plants, the success of the Teamsters Union has given it so much occupational and industrial diversification that it took on the form of a general labor union. If the teamsters were to decide to move in the direction of converting their union into a general catchall organization, the labor movement in the United States may be headed into a new structural phase comparable to the emergence of industrial unions in the 1930’s as the equals of the craft unions.
Although elected officials retain office for long periods on a national and local basis, there is insurmountable evidence of democracy operating within the union in the historical inability of the IBT leadership to dominate the convention completely. However, the membership continues to reelect officers who have brought about great improvements in conditions of employment and raised wages in the industry from a relatively low level to a high one. The union has succeeded in confidently establishing itself as a powerful organization, with vigorous actions and unruly behavior.
Racketeering within the IBT was limited to locals and local leaders until 1957 and the national officers seemed eager to eliminate these instances. Viewpoints of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and its leading officials followed in the tradition of Samuel Gompers and the other founders of the American Federation of Labor. Economics were the focus of the union, while attempting to stay out of the political arena, with the improvement of wages, hours, and working conditions being of the biggest concern.
Some of the IBT leaders and locals were more politically cognizant, for example Harold J. Gibbons (St. Louis Local 688) and Robert I. Wishart (Minneapolis Local 1145), these were exceptions. The union is constantly on the alert for ways of bettering the economic position of its members: operating on the principle that the end justifies the means and that in order to improve the economic status of teamster’s pressure devices of all sorts may be used and assistance accepted from all persons who can help.
Hoffa has said: “What we want we try to get. What we have we keep. ” (Dobbs) The implication in this thought process where as vigorous organizational tactics must be pursued, hot cargo clauses in contracts and aggressive picketing leads to a strong union. Rejections from the union insist on restraint from utilizing any outside sources, whether by courts or Congressional committees.
Investigations are considered interference with the rights of leaders to conduct union affairs. The IBT has strength with truck drivers, comprising about a third of its membership, hold jobs with tactical importance that enables the union to exert vast pressure on almost all industries. The usual driver is young, tough, individualistic, and stable, where they usually rise through the ranks in the trucking industry and are well prepared for challenges from their drivers.
Under such conditions, substantial contact between management and workers during stressful times between them was not surprising and did not cause undue anxiety. People within the industry were not shocked by these issues and the upper ranks of teamster leadership adopted a policy that was forcefully supported by Hoffa that men may continue to work on behalf of the union regardless of any charges or indictments against as long as they have not been convicted of a major crime in the courts.
The stance on this issue is based on the concept that leaders who are useful to the IBT should not be abandoned until they have had their day in court and there has never been any doubt in the minds of the heads of the organization that a successful labor leader must be prepared to move from an office to a picket line or to jail in the interests of his union. It is an unwritten rule within the unions that dedication to union service should be thorough and that it is how one reaches the highest achievement, no efforts are spared.
In recent years, the leaders of the IBT have recognized greatly that they must be prepared to speak to university students or public organizations, in addition to their own membership, when the occasion warrants. Yet modesty has not been a trait of leadership in the Teamsters Union, the heads of the organization have used their power to reach for more power. With a poor reputation and tough behavior of the Teamsters Union there were various misgivings amongst the general public and in the ranks of organized labor.
Heads of other trade unions have been apprehensive that teamster methods will bring stricter governmental laws and regulation of labor but they have also feared the jurisdictional incursions of the IBT and the increasing power wielded by its officers. Labor leaders recognize that the men running the Teamsters Union, on the whole, have been working for the benefit of members of the organization although many question the personal ethics and conduct of teamster officials and feel that not much consideration is given to the needs and interests of the remainder of the labor movement.
History is full with evidence of the dependence of many sectors of labor unionism on the success of the teamsters in organizing or striking an employer. Unions therefore must deal carefully with the IBT since their main purposes may become more difficult or even impossible to achieve by disassociating or expelling the Teamsters Union from any community of labor. Whether the IBT can eradicate undesirable practices in which it is engaged and the distasteful business dealings, by which it is marked will be determined with the progress of the Teamsters in the future.
The problem is extremely difficult because the membership is dominated by exhaustion and fear with its officers and due to the combined strength of the leaders is greater than that of the rank and file. The union needs some guidance from responsible leaders of the AFL-CIO and from some of those of its own officials who are impeccable. To remove any questions of corruption and racketeering within the Teamsters nationwide will require firm, legislative pressures by the federal government that will force the abandonment of dishonesty and criminal activities. Bibliography Brill, S. The Teamsters. Simon and Schuster. 1978. Dobbs, F.
Teamster Power. Pathfinder Press. 1973. Friedman, A. and Schwarz, T. Power and Greed: Inside the Teamsters Empire of Corruption. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts. 1989. Jablonski, D. The ‘Culture of Corruption’ Will Be Just Fine, Thank You. AFL-CIO | American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations 2009. Retrieved from; http://www. aflcio. org/, on July 17, 2009 Teamsters Reaffirm Support of Anti-Corruption Effort. http://www. teamster. org/ Witwer. D. Corruption and Reform in the Teamsters Union. University of Illinois Press. 2008. Zeller, F. C. D. Devil’s Pact: Inside the World of the Teamsters Union. Carol Publishing Group.